Old magazines
What’s left of my old magazines collection… I used the auto correct feature to fix the lighting because the colors are so faded and I couldn’t capture anything visible without using a flash, which made the colors look even more faded. I collected Real Simple because it was sent to me free and I loved the interior design and DIY stuff inside.

I used to read Seventeen Magazine before I was even seventeen, wondering what life would be like at 17. I’d save magazine clippings of my favorite outfits and looks I one day wanted to try. I even still have some of those clippings and the magazines that featured my favorite people at the time.

And then I stopped reading it because Atoosa Rubenstein retired as the editor-in-chief during 2007, one of the hardest years of my entire life. I remember emailing her asking her to say and only receiving a “sorry, but I have to go” in response. I thought of her as my best friend, and I loved her style and how she kept the magazine.

And it wasn’t the same after she left because Seventeen became a magazine that featured boys after Ann Shoket took place. I remember being so furious because of it. This magazine that featured girls of all shapes and sizes that was also so empowering to me was now bringing guys into the mix — something I despised. It was quickly losing everything that it once stood for. And this new editor never replied back to my emails like the previous one did. And I wasn’t the only one she let down; I remember reading online about how Seventeen had changed too much in the forums and how guys didn’t deserve to be on the cover. Someone had then suggested CosmoGirl. I was a “CosmoGirl” until it stopped production in 2008 — when I picked up Teen Vogue.

I found those saved magazines a few days ago and couldn’t help thinking about this — how I’d gotten into them, how so many people looked forward to my subscription coming in before they hit the shelves so they could read the latest edition, how my friends and I really took their advice seriously, how we’d laugh at the funnies (what we called the embarrassing moments column), etc. They reminded me of a time when, in the midst of all the crap lard and my mother was doing in general and to me, I had something to look forward to: my best friend’s magazine that guided me through middle school. I treated it like the mother I never had, and she was the hot topic among all my friends.

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Comments on this post

Erin Nicole’s gravatar

I guess I’m weird for still reading magazines to this day…well not magazines but teen magazines…I still feel like a teen although I am 20 but I guess I don’t act like it anymore.

I read seventeen once or twice but never really got into reading any particular magazine series….I guess I was and still am mainly into reading and replying to blog posts…That’s usually how I get my reading it. 🙂

Robin’s gravatar

I don’t think magazines are as good anymore. I would read “Seventeen” during middle school and my first two years of high school…because I was younger and I thought it would be my guide to acting like an awesome high school junior or senior. 🙂 Haha…anyway, my biggest problem with them now is that most promote stereotypes about men and women. I dislike their idea that all men/women are the same and like the same things. Not to mention the ones that tell you to love yourself the way you are on one page, then tell you to lose weight five pages later.

Joy’s gravatar

This post was such a mind opener.
It would never occur to me how something seamingly “small” can be so much to someone.
I have to learn to appreciate things and keep in mind what they might mean to other people.

Alysa’s gravatar

I still have all of my old copies of CosmoGirl (though I think that some have gone missing over the years). That was the one magazine that I (for the most part) wouldn’t cut into to make collages. PLUS! They had stickers. so cool!! Atoosa is an amazing editor… I wonder where she’s working now

Vivian’s gravatar

I miss the days of print magazines – when you’d look forward to them arriving in your mailbox (the physical one!) and you’d curl up in bed to read them (instead of staring at a computer screen), bring them to school to share with friends (instead of sending links via Facebook), and physically clipping images out to stick them on corkboards. I had a subscription to Girl’s Life, in addition to American Girl and Kids Discover. I would get SO excited to check the mail every day (it made the chore fun!) Man, those were the days.

Hannah’s gravatar

I used to read Seventeen too, and I definitely noticed the change after Atoosa left. I loved her. 🙁

Jen’s gravatar

Oh I got a year’s subscription to that magazine when I turned 14! I loved it! I just couldn’t afford to renew it, though heh. /zzz I absolutley loved the embarrassing moments section. It was one of my fav’s for sure! I kind of miss it, to be honest.

Georgie’s gravatar

That’s really sad when you watch something sort of evolve, something that was a huge part of you growing up. I remember reading a lot of magazines when I was younger, too, and though I didn’t really get in touch with any of the editors, I didn’t like how they changed.

I think after a while I saw most of the stuff in magazines as trash and useless, and I would only be reading them for certain sections. Looking back on it now, all the “relationship advice” and other things in there that claimed to be a source of information for young girls was just crap, in hindsight it wasn’t that marvellous at all. I guess that’s just my opinion though. It was nice to read them and be a part of the whole community, but I don’t think it was as big a part of being a teenager as magazines were for you.

I went on to read more magazines targeted towards older women but even then, it all seemed so shiny, plastic and unrealistic, and the material in there didn’t appeal to me. Maybe we just have crap magazines in Australia. xD

Kay’s gravatar

I loved to read magazines like that when I was younger but not so much anymore. I do still have a lot of my clippings from back in the day too!

Kya’s gravatar

That is such a shame that it changed so much when the new editor took over, it would have been really heartbreaking at the time too.

I went through my magazines about a year ago. I had a lot of two Australian magazines called Dolly and Girlfriend which are teen magazines. They didn’t have as deep as connection as they did for you, but they have been there for me when I needed to escape some of the poop and look at things.

I just buy one magazine called Frankie now, it’s an Australian indie/crafty/art/design/cool magazine that I love. 😀

Agent Q’s gravatar

As someone who doesn’t follow magazines, I never knew the back story behind how Seventeen Magazine changed over those years. Just based on what’s written here, I can see why some are critical of such transition. :/ Is Seventeen still prospering though? Seems like the younger audience are oblivious to this whole thing, I presume? o.O

Liz’s gravatar

Yeah, but I think it’s still only as successful as it is because the generations reading it now don’t know what its original message and purpose was — they didn’t grow up with it before the change.